Property declared nuisance amidst resident's claim of harassment by city

During last night’s meeting of the Picayune City Council, Tom Milar, Director of Code Enforcement for the city, presented a list of properties to be declared a nuisance during a public hearing conducted during the council meeting.

One of those properties, located at 2702 Rogers Street, was represented at the hearing by Laith Barakat who claimed he had been harrassed by the city about the many different items on the property such as a food truck, other vehicles, and a large air compressor. Barakat claimed he had been harassed about having his food truck at his gas station, his mechanic’s shop, and recently at his house.

Tom Milar (left) tries to discuss the situation at 2702 Rogers Street with Barakat

Barakat said, as he rambled constantly while standing in front of the council, that he had gotten rid of everything he had been told to do so at the property, shut down his food truck business and his mechanic’s shop. Barakat continued to talk at the same time the council, Milar, and City Attorney Nathan Farmer were trying to discuss the situation at the property. Barakat claimed his only business left was his Texaco gas station and he stated that he was planning on buying 20 more gas stations from Keithco, but now he was thinking he didn’t want to do that anymore.

Laith Barakat (standing) talking about his proper at the city council meeting.

The council voted to declare the property a nuisance and the city will monitor the property to see if Barakat will keep the property clean going forward.

Also at the meeting, the council approved the inter-local agreement for the paving work to be done on Jackson Landing Road that was approved the day before the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors. Director of Public Works, Eric Morris, said this agreement would save the city $100,000.00.

The council also approved the certified bid tabulation from Waycaster & Associates to award the project to build Fire Station 3 (end of Goodyear Blvd) to Dennis Collier Construction, LLC. in the amount of $508,039.00.

Breland asked questions about whether this transaction would put the city in a legal situation ethically. City Attorney Nathan Farmer, City Clerk Amber Hinton, and Mayor Ed Pinero attempted to explain to Breland that there was no problem with awarding the work to Collier because the city would be entering into contract with the company, an LLC, not the individual person (Collier).

Councilman Larry Breland voted against the request and called for a roll call vote. Breland said he voted against the award because he felt there were things in this award that are in question because Collier was a member of the city’s Planning Commission. Breland wanted to ensure his comments were included in the meeting minutes.

Breland also asked Johnny Waycaster (pictured above) with the architect firm if he saw any problems with the project and responded, “While there is always more you can do, he is very confident the project meets the stated objectives.”

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